Sunday, February 28, 2010

Like food porn for the soul

If celebrating someones weight loss surgery with a table full of dessert and a bottle (or 3) of wine is wrong, then baby, I don't ever want to be right. Nothing says "Congratulations for finally getting off your fat ass and doing something about your weight" like chocolate covered strawberries, cheese and artichoke dip, cakes, baked goods and fried deliciousness in assorted varieties. I know I should be having eaters remorse, but my inner fat girl is saying...what's left over from last night? So, I didn't fall asleep in a sugar induced coma and wake up with a face covered in pink cupcakes or a face full of chicken wing dip, but I did wake up to a burp that tasted vaguely like whipped cream cake and immediately smiled.

If there was ever a party to say goodbye to all the foods I love dearly, last nights party was it. Between the pictures, the wine, the laughter, the card game that no one paid attention to, and being with some of the people I love most in the world, I truly realized that if I were to stay exactly as I am today, people would mean it when they say they love me just the way I am. That alone makes it easier to become something different.

I'm not gonna lie though, the perfect, tiny assorted cheesecakes that were like food porn for my mouth are going to be VERY hard to say goodbye to. I'm just sayin'.

Friday, February 26, 2010

It's my party, and I'll eat if I want to!

I’m gonna eat like it’s 1999. Ok, I’m done with the parodies. Today is my pre-surgical celebration and to say I am looking forward to it would be like saying the Pope likes to pray. This isn’t just your run of the mill house party, damn it. This party is for ME! This party is to celebrate all the things I used to be and all the amazing things I am about to become. I’m gonna slap on some Spanx and comfy pants and sit in the middle of the dessert table and have a food orgy accompanied by an alcohol orgasm. Count on it. It isn’t gonna be pretty, and there will nothing ladylike about it, but I am gonna say goodbye to food with a bang. With every delicious cream puff, every tiny sausage wrapped in dough, every chocolate covered cherry, I will be freeing myself of the chains that food has had over me for far too long. And if I happen to get drunk off of the sugar overload and wake up naked next to a pink frosted cupcake, in a junk food induced Coyote Ugly moment, I will gladly do the walk of shame while wiping chicken wing dip off of my face. Deal with it.

I'm not fat....I'm fluffy.

I have found that there are different levels and types of fat that I have achieved over the last 15 years. When I first started gaining weight, right around the age of 19, it immediately started in my ass and thighs. No biggie, this was still easy enough to hide. Thanks to the “ghetto fab” fad of the early 90’s, I could get away with baggy pants and oversized Nike sweatshirts. It was also very feminine and acceptable back then to wear Paul Bunyan style flannel shirts. Problem solved. Somewhere between baggy pants and post pregnancy bulge there was a period where I was in denial about my fat. I am pretty sure this stemmed from not EVER turning around to check out my backside in a mirror, or owning a mirror that allowed me to see anything below the waist. One day I was strutting through the mall in my chunky rubber soled shoes that could only have made from Dunlop tires and my torn up jeans, when I accidentally caught a glimpse of myself in the reflection of a store window. I was just about to laugh and point at the fat girl with the ugly clothes, when I realized, HEY! That’s me!! Crap.

After this horrifying revelation that I was in fact fat, I moved onto what I called the “I had kids and don’t give a shit” years. This included closets and drawers full of mom jeans, cotton/poly shirts with horizontal stripes across the boobs and mens button down shirts. This lasted for about 6 years and is NOT a period of my life I would like to relive.

I progressed in the "babydoll top” era because I thought it hid my belly and butt and accentuated my FOOBIES (which means "fat boobies", meaning the kind you only have after you pack on an extra 50 pounds). It was the kind of shirt that flows away from the Goodyear you are currently sporting under your elastic waisted pants. The foobies are a good distraction. However, worn wrong, people will stare wondering if your foobies are that big naturally or because you are pregnant Jon+Kate style.

However, despite my fashion faux pas and my days of self loathing, I have always been made to feel better when in the presence of my all time favorite - the "Jiggly Girls". These are the ones who gave up caring what they look like or what people think, and go out of their way to make sure we all know it. The ones who are a size 26 and sport low-rise jeans (in a size 22) and polyester shirts from Dots that tie in the back. I mean, really, who doesn't want to wear a shirt with a tie reminscent of the prairie dresses we wore when we were five so we can secure them neatly in our back fat which will inevitably stress our fat rolls and body dimples? I know if I were someone of the opposite sex and I saw this Jiggler walk by sporting a purse so tiny that it rests comfortably in her armpit, with rolls hanging out and jiggling precariously as she walks, my first thought would totally be "I'd hit that". Just be careful! Unrestrained fat on a girl that big is like a boomerang. You may "hit it" but chances are it will bounce back and hit you in places that will turn you into a soprano.

My clothes and accessories through the years along with the jokes and smiles have been my "babydoll shirt". They hide all the ugliness and insecurity I feel about myself. People have told me repeatedly in the last few months that I am beautiful the way I am, or that they don't understand why I would think I need this surgery, but realistically, I just hide it well. I am the master of disguise, so to speak. I don’t expect this surgery to fix me or cure me of those things I hide behind. I would settle for it getting me to a place where maybe I can believe in myself the way that other people believe in me. I am looking forward to the next phase just being the “as I am” phase.

I will always be a fat girl at heart, I just won’t be allowed to make the jokes anymore for fear of getting my skinny ass kicked.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Seriously, and really? I mean, really?

Today has been a butter-my-buns-and-call-me-a-biscuit, Sucky McSuckAss kind of a day. The kind that makes you want to throw your hands in the air, scream WHAT THE F**K, punch someone in the face, high five a random stranger, and then make company with a cheap bottle of wine while watching Golden Girls re-runs.

First I had a useless doctors appointment. Basically, it was a six month follow up meant to make sure none of the meds he prescribed me killed me or forced me into a state of insanity followed by a murder spree. "Congrats! you're still alive, still fat and thanks for your co-pay" is basically what my receipt read.

I figured I would follow that up with a trip to the nail salon for some beautification and relaxation. Well color me STUPID, it turned into the most annoying part of my day. An hour after being told the wait would be 15-20 minutes, some chick with an attitude and an inability to speak english burned the shit out of my cuticles, cut my nails too short and said Have a Nice Way (I'm pretty sure she meant day). And I am pretty sure she was talking smack about me the entire time which only provokes me to want to learn Vietnamese so I can pretend to be ignorant and then rock their world by joining their conversation.

And FYI, I can never get rid of my super cool '06 Chevy Uplander. Wanna know why? Because it was made by ninjas. Wanna know how I know? Because driving home from my extremely annoying day of waiting, I was cut off three times and almost t-boned a moron in a suit on his cell phone, which gives me cause to believe that NO ONE CAN SEE ME, hence the notion that my van was surely made by ninjas!!

I am now safely at home, back in my comfy clothes and trying to shake off the endless amount of stupid I absorbed today. With a little luck and some dark chocolate, I just might make it through the rest of the day.

TMI Thursday and things you never wanted to know about me....

I am going to bite the battery filled, vibrating bullet and say this….sex is messy. Metaphorically speaking and literally. It denotes all rational and redirects blood flow from the parts of our bodies that should be making decisions to the parts that just want to be filled. It is lustful and dirty, sometimes secretive and unlawful, often obligatory and routine. And I love it. And I am not ashamed of it. I partake in it like it’s a full time job that is going to generate a paycheck at the end of the week. You might as well slap me with a Jenna Jameson sticker and put me to bed….naked, of course. I love the smell of it, the thought of it, the feel of it and the endorphine boosting charge it generates. At least, this is how I used to be. Until the dreaded ‘M’ word crept in like a bad yeast infection and fucked up my day. Yes, at the ripe old age of 35 I am talking about MENOPAUSE. **Note the first three letters of this pain the ass word, which screws with our bodies and mind, spells the word MEN.**

When you are 18, and your hormones take control of your decision making, menopause is a foreign word reserved for gray haired ladies that smell like Bengay. You never think you will be in the sexual prime of your life experiencing hot flashes, mood swings, migraines, weight gain and wanting to beat the first person who looks at you crooked or breathes in your general direction. Yet, here I am wading my way through this mess, trying to find my way out of the other side of it.

On the plus side, no more “Aunt Flo” or cramps or carrying tampons with me on vacation. Bonus. Women my age and younger can’t begin to understand the angst behind my misery. The feeling that something is seriously missing. The loss of vital organs that genetically make me a woman is something that screws with my mind daily. I know in all reasoning they are only pieces of the puzzle, but they end up being the damned middle pieces that you don’t realize are missing until you have spent days putting it together. I don’t think I wanted to have more kids, but I would have liked to make that decision and not have it ripped from me. I would have been happy to spend my life never bleeding like a wounded deer during hunting season, but I would have liked to keep all my woman parts in tact while doing so.

And somedays, most days, I miss WANTING to have sex. I miss that lustful, passionate, can’t-keep-my-hands-off-you, feeling that I had when I was still the owner of my own estrogen. The kind that didn’t require pills, lubes, mood lighting and the occassional porno. I miss feeling like a woman. I can’t get the image out of my head that if you were to yell into my vagina, it would echo back like a child screaming “HELLO” into the mouth of the Grand Canyon. As you can imagine, that is not a thought that revs the engine, so to speak.

BUT….as time goes on, and my mind and body begin to adjust I am more comfortable with the phrase, “it is what it is”, because what else could it possibly be? I can’t go back in time and make the cancer NOT come, and I can’t go back and ask them to re-insert my uterus or my ovaries. I can’t change the past, but I can make a conscious decision to change the future and the way I will perceive it. So what if I have to find new ways to “find that lovin’ feeling" again? Maybe that will keep it interesting over the next 40 or 50 years. I will definitely take the ability to just do it less for granted than I ever did, and maybe that isn’t such a bad thing.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

One "step" at a time.....

I had a moment of revelation today thanks to the new “MyTrack Step Counter” treadmill we bought this past weekend. On average, we should be taking 10,000-11,000steps per day to stay fit and active. I always thought I walk so much with cleaning and exercise and running errands that this was a simple feat. Plainly and simply, I was probably very, very wrong. If my 8th grade math is correct, this would entail me walking the treadmill at a pace of 2.5mph for almost an hour and a half. Since I am not exactly the speciman used for physical fitness, this is still a ways out of my grasp. In my reality this would mean I would have to walk the treadmill three times a day for 30 minutes. Fuck. As it is, after I push myself for an hour my legs feel like rubberbands. And not those thick sturdy rubberbands that could hold a stack of 2x4’s together either. I am talking about the kind of rubberband that you find in the back of your desk drawer and hope will hold together a short stack of papers. Only, when you try to wrap it that “one last time” it snaps, breaks and smacks you in the face like a bad insult to your intelligence for ever having used it to begin with. I guess it is true that you just can’t fix stupid. You can side step it, hop over it, sleep next to it, dodge it like a Matrix villain and occassionally ignore it, but you just can’t fix it. It isn’t broken, misjudged or misunderstood, sometimes stupid is just plain stupid.

If we are speaking in truths, let’s just face facts: There are no easily pliable receptors in your fat ladden brain that willfully want to put down the super sized bag of Cheetos and trade them in for an airy cheddar rice cake. Given the choice, a fat girl will always make the wrong choice. Hence, the reason we are fat. It has taken months of anxiety attacks, meltdowns, tears and misery to get a point where I can will myself to make the right choice….most of the time. I would love to say that after this surgery I will be scared straight and will never drop the rice cake and reach for the cookie, but I would be lying and I think I’ve lied to myself enough in the last 15 years. The best I can do is try to dial down the stupid and turn up the reasoning and be as successful as I allow myself to be. If knowledge is power than I am on my way to earning a PhD. But, cookies will always be my kryptonite.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Houston, we have a problem....

22 days out and the anxiety is setting in with the fierocity of a fat kid trying to shove the last piece of cake down his throat before his mom comes back into the room. Sadly, and yet amusingly, I have been that kid. But not with mom coming back into the room, with ANYONE coming into the room. I look back and think, "How many times have I done that?". Anyone overweight will know exactly what I am talking about here. You go to a party or a gathering and there is a multitude of deliciosity spread along one of those fold out buffet tables just waiting to extend your waistline, and you try to demonstrate even an ounce of self control so people don't stare in amazement as you shovel little hotdogs wrapped in dough into your mouth faster than a horny dog will hump a still leg. You wait for them to be distracted, or leave the room to refill the tray you ate while they weren't looking, so you can speedily down a handful of chips, a pocket full of m&m's (before the melt!) and a couple chocolate covered strawberries for good measure (hey, there is your fruit serving for the day!!). Then you walk away quietly, hoping no one noticed, and distract the attention of potential onlookers by talking about your newest diet, and your superhuman ability to redirect your self control to healthier habits. Meanwhile, you are sucking in your gut, praying the button on your pants holds and trying not to breathe for fear your secret will be discovered.

After awhile, even Spanx begin to fail you. Instead of flattening and flattering, it redirects your fat rolls to places no fat roll should ever go. So while you might end up with a lifted derriere or a flat upper waistline, you usually end up with a spare tire around your lower section that rivals a Dunlop tire and can most certainly serve as a drink tray for the evening.

Despite living through years of hiding my insecurities and creating diversion tactics, I finally like who I am. I like who I know I can evolve to be over time. I like me for a change, flaws and all. I like my green eyes which are beginning to wrinkle in the corners, and my big butt, and my sometimes too loud laugh, and my ability to make the people around me laugh. I like waking up each day with the possibility that this could be the best day of my life. And if it isn't, then tomorrow is another day.

I love my kids, my husband, my family, my friends, the friends I have yet to meet and the ones who are too ignorant to know what a good friend I can be. I know this sounds a little hokey, and I promise not to bust out a rendition of "We Are the World", but I realized today that I am happy. I realized how stress free I am for the first time in a long time, and I am reveling in it.

Anxiety or not, the big day is quickly approaching and I stand before it like a sumo wrestler ready to take it down if it tries to impede my progress or stand in my way.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Because I can....and stuff.

Randomly, I will say this. I love to floss. There is something about the sensation behind the minty string plucking precariously in between my teeth clearing it of impurities that feels like a deep spring cleaning in my mouth. Metaphorically speaking, it cleanses my palate of all ill spoken words, dirty slang or misplaced thoughts I may have spoken the day before. I'm just sayin'.

Secondly, I had a day of adventure planned. And by adventure, I meant I was going to stop watching my DVR'd shows from last week, shut down Facebook for a millisecond, and do something productive like laundry. But I have decided that I will nap instead. And why, you ask with that look of disdain upon your working, jealous face? Because I CAN. Because I had cancer, because I feel lazy, and because I don't have to work right now and napping is my constitutional right. That's why. I will do it unabashedly and without shame or remorse.

And because I just spoke so harshly, afterwards I will floss.

23 Days out....

It is 23 days until S-Day. That is what it will be called from now on because the word "surgery" is a little anxiety causing. I have been through the wringer when it comes to being sliced and diced, and although this surgery is voluntary and possibly life changing, it still requires me to put my trust in the hands of someone who has no personal stake in me. I am always afraid I will be that Lifetime movie case who will get put under and one of two things will happen:

1) I will be sedated but able to hear and feel everything and not have the ability to speak or open my eyes.


2) I will be that one in a million case of someone who goes into something seemingly routine and will die from something stupid like a ruptured bladder or a faulty vagina.

That would be just my luck. Die and go in the medical books as the fat chick who went in for gastric bypass and died from a faulty vagina. Splendid.

I am trying to keep the faith because in retrospect I think I am simply working my way through the worst of it to get to the best me I can be. I gave up on me for a very long time. I never thought I was good enough or pretty enough or smart enough to be something more. I came out of a bad first marriage thinking the worlds problems rested solely on my shoulders because I was a bad person. I felt like a failure, I felt like I let my kids down, and mostly, I just felt very alone. When I met Tim, I came alive in a way that I hadn't been for much of my adult life. He made it ok for me to be imperfect because he loved me anyway. When I wanted to run and self destruct, he held my hand and ran with me. When I wanted to shut my eyes to the world and just disappear he brought me to the light and stood beside me. When I spent almost a year being sick, thinking I might die, and wondering why I should keep fighting, he fought for me. Now, as I make this journey he lets me know it's ok to be afraid and he is the soft whisper of encouragement in my ear when I doubt my ability to really follow through with this journey. He makes me feel beautiful and valuable and that is something I don't think I have EVER felt. I can take this step and be this person because I know that through success or failure, he will still love me. I know that I can step away from him and the kids and the expectations that people may have of me, and make this decision for ME.

I have come to realize that I am truly doing something for me for once. I am not doing it to please a man, or fill society's expectations of me. I am doing it because it is the right thing for me at this time in my life. I can step outside of myself every now and then and see a healthier version of the person I have become. I can just be me. Not the fat girl with a pretty face, or the "cancer" girl or the girl who hides behind jokes and smiles to get through the day.

This is my journey, and I am just fortunate to have people on my side who make it that much more fun to be on. I honestly never thought I would have the amount of support that I have received in the last few months. I feel in my heart like people are genuinely happy for me and rooting for me, and that eases the anxiety and pushes me forward.

So, it is 23 days out and with these thoughts in my head I am pushing forward despite my irrational thoughts and fears, because I know I can. And THAT feels truly amazing.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Is this enough?

There is something to be said about watching other people go after and achieve their dreams. American Idol, Biggest Loser, all these reality shows where people are given an opportunity to go after what they desire, makes me wonder what dreams I gave up. It also makes me wonder if I ever really knew what my dreams were. Were they clouded by doing the things I thought were expected of me? I always gave myself up to others, whether it was as a wife, a mother, a friend, a confidant or a daughter. I always strive to make everyone else happy. In the middle of living, I never stopped to wonder if there was something else I should have been doing, or if this was my destiny. Some people are born to be writers, actors, nobel prize winners or doctors, but what if I was put here just to be this? Just to be a good mom, or a good wife, or a good friend or the confidant someone needed, or the daughter that wanted to make her parents proud? What if writing was just supposed to be something I did as a hobby to give other people something to think about? My writing is real, it's not meant to be a New York Times best seller or a nobel prize winning piece of literature. I know that I have touched people with my words, and given them something to relate to or something to make them re-evaluate their own lives, so why shouldn't that be enough? Maybe my dreams are smaller than most, but they are my dreams. Am I less of a person because I am happy and moved by watching other people do great things? Is this life I live less valuable because it's ordinary? I don't think so. And I think people need to spend less time upset that they aren't rich or famous or something spectacular, because sometimes, regular is the most honorable thing to be. What would the world be without good mothers, good friends,good family or good people? It's those of us that are grounded by our normality that create the foundation for those who achieve greatness. If I were always just a middle class citizen that allowed my children to grow into something phenomenal, or if my everyday kindness allowed someone else to achieve new goals in their life, I would die a happy, well accomplished woman. My writing may not earn me awards, and people may not stop me on the street to ask for an autograph, but if it touches just one person....just gives one person reason to pause and think....than I will be forever happy with just being average.

Finding My Niche

From the moment we are old enough to decide what we want to be when we grow up we try to find ways to make our niche in this world. Most little girls line up their dolls on tiny chairs and have tea parties, hoping one day to be someones wife and mother. Little boys take their Tonka trucks into the backyard and dream about being a real life Bob the Builder. When we turn 8 or 9 a lot of little ones dream of being a doctor or a veterarian or a lawyer. As we get older those dreams change. Girls dream about being models, boys dream about being rock stars. Girls dress up in their mothers clothes and high heeled shoes and strut in front of full length mirrors. Boys run through the house with headphones on, jamming to air guitars. Dreams of wealth and fame consume our adolescent dreams.

As we get older we tend to be disappointed by reality because we spent so much of our lives expecting things that are simply unrealistic. If the world were filled with musicians and models who would create the cure for AIDS? If we are all lawyers and doctors who would we care for, who would we defend? If our lives turned out exactly the way we planned, what would we strive for? There would be no fantasies, no dreams, no passion for living.

I believe that we are all put on this earth just to "be". Just to learn and love and be a part of something bigger than we could ever have imagined while planning our imaginary tea parties or building skyscrapers out of dirt. We are put here to make mistakes that we learn from, to hurt and learn to recover, to lose love and learn to love again, to crash and burn and then learn to rebuild ourselves. It gives us hope and faith, something to live for. It gives us a reason to go to sleep at night and hope for peaceful dreams. It builds strength and the character that seperates us from being one big conglomerate of prayerless, unfearful, unloving, emotionless creatures.

I am learning to love and appreciate my emotions and the emotions of those around me. I am learning that its ok to cry and let others see you doing it. I know that its ok to be vulnerable and to ask for help. I know that I can be strong, yet feminine. Subtle, yet tough. Motherly, yet sexual. Being me, in the midst of all this chaos is a good thing and for now, I am content to just "be". I have found my niche.

Me vs. the Treadmill

Let's make one thing clear, me and the treadmill - we are NOT friends. I let him stay in my house rent free and mock me everytime I try to walk by with a bowl of ice cream or a late night treat, but we are not friends by any means. We are love/hate acquaintances. The kind that only hang out when other people that we actually like get together. We smile politely, make idle chit chat and endure each others company. Somedays when I force myself to strap on my gym shoes and get on that thing I walk a little harder just to see how much pain it is willing to endure. I wait for the day that the flimsy rubber belt breaks out of pure spite and I picture a little digital smile spreading across the console as it throws me into the adjacent wall. When I am walking and staring off into the distance pretending to be somewhere (anywhere) else, I am pretty sure I see it mocking me in disdain out of the corner of my eye. It leers and beckons me, and my weak, fat soul caves everytime. I am sure one day, many months from now, we will mend out broken relationship when my waistline is one that I can find again, but for now, let's just say we are frenemies.

My surgery is in 25 days. I have waited so long for this opportunity to come to fruition that I am in a state of denial at the fact that it is actually here. I am both proud of myself for getting through these last 5 months, and disappointed in myself for needing this to fix me again. I have spent much of my adult life fighting demons that no one could see, and that I was too afraid to share. But I made it out of the other side and I can finally see the finish line. And that God blessed treadmill is going to get me there whether it likes it or not!!